A concussed quarterback, a crucial drop by a receiver during a career night, wasted timeouts,a horrendous run defense, and complete and utter inability to cover a tight end were the only things that stood in the way of the Eagles opening the season at 2-0.
You know, because they’ve never had these issues before, right?
Instead, as they wake up on Monday morning, the remnants of a disgusting and unnecessary loss to the Atlanta Falcons will hang over their heads. And I hope it stings each of them as much as it stings me.
In a game that only an Andy Reid-coached Eagles team could lose, Atlanta rallied from a 31-21 fourth quarter deficit for its first win of the season, dropping the Eagles by a 35-31 score.
Some will say that the Eagles fought valiantly and showed great potential despite the end result–that’s loser talk. It’s an absolute embarassment to lose a game in which the opponent was thoroughly dominated for much of the night. The Eagles offense outgained the Atlanta offense 447 yards to 318 yards, had Matt Ryan on the ropes, and moved the ball at will. Yet, they couldn’t get out of their own way in key spots. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
Forget Michael Vick’s concussion, we’ll save that discussion for later in the day. This is a game the Eagles should have won, regardless of who was calling the signals in the fourth quarter.
Facing a first and seventeen situation with nearly eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Michael Turner exploded for a 61-yard burst before being taken down by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The linebackers, particularly Casey Matthews, were completely engulfed by Atlanta offensive linemen, which allowed Turner to run loose. Turner galloped into the end zone six plays later to give the Falcons the lead for good.
With Vick out of the game the Eagles turned to third-string quarterback Mike Kafka to bring them back. Kafka showed poise in the pocket, leading the Eagles quickly down the field, including a perfectly-placed 43-yard bomb to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Six plays later, the Eagles needed four yards on fourth down to keep their final drive alive–Kafka hit Maclin with a perfectly placed pass that the usually sure-handed wide receiver inexplicably dropped. Game over.
It was especially difficult to swallow Maclin’s drop considering he finished the game with 13 catches for 171 yards and two scores.
Making matters worse, Vick’s status is currently unclear for next week’s home opener and showdown with the New York Giants, so that’s nice. We’ll learn more about about his status later today, but if I was a gambling man–and I once was–I’d imagine Mike Kafka will be taking the snaps next Sunday.
Never a dull moment here in Philadelphia.